Program Highlights

2016-17 School and District Partners

Program Highlights

Our 2016-17 site partnerships are going strong. With twelve site-based groups and five cross-site groups supported by our Teacher Scholar Leader Network and Principal Inquiry Network, we are working with over 345 teachers, coaches, and principals from across the East Bay.

School-Site Partnerships

The Life Academy of Health and Bioscience (Oakland Unified) has two groups of teachers collaborating on teacher-led inquiry this year. The Life Academy Humanities Department is in its second year of inquiry, supported by a Light Award in partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars. The Humanities teachers are continuing to explore various forms of data to29077485713_c1d233b925_z better serve Long-term English Learners in grades 6-12. This year they are working to engage their whole school site and the greater educational community in conversation about language learners.

The Life Academy Science Department is in its first year of inquiry, supported by an Educate 78 grant. The Science teachers are using collaborative inquiry to build a common understanding around how to support the use of logical reasoning and analysis in science writing. They are also exploring how to best align their instruction and assessment of analytical science writing across the grades.

Oakland Technical High School’s 9th-grade team is in its first year of partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars, using teacher-led collaborative inquiry in a cross-disciplinary group to promote learning across and within departments. Their focus is on improving teaching and learning for English Language Learners (ELLs) as well as African American students, foster youth, and redesignated ELLs.

The Mills College Children’s School  has long engaged in inquiry to improve teaching and learning, but they have partnered with Mills Teacher Scholars to bring more structure to their collaborative inquiry work. This year they are investigating how teachers can become positive co-facilitators of children’s identity development. As a laboratory school, they are also exploring ways to model an inquiry stance for student teachers.


Colonial Acres Elementary (San Lorenzo Unified) is in their second year of whole-staff inquiry. Colonial Acres teachers are using inquiry to strengthen cross-grade collaboration and deepen their understanding of differentiated instruction during Guided Reading.

Rosa Parks Elementary (Berkeley Unified), in its sixth year of on-site inquiry, is fully led by teacher leaders Michelle Contreras and Matilde Merello. Last year, through analyzing video data focused on academic discussion, the Rosa Parks Scholars found that quality of relationships in the students’ partnerships had a tremendous impact on learning opportunities for students. This year the 18 teacher scholars are building on these understandings with a focus on relationship and learning, particularly around strategic partnering and enacting the principles of the district’s equity agenda.

Anna Yates (Emery Unified) is a K-8 school in their second year of partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars in building a school-wide teacher inquiry community. This year Anna Yates teachers are using teacher-led collaborative inquiry to inform their implementation of  new curricula and school-wide programs including Eureka Math, Reader’s Roar, Lucy Calkins Writers Workshop, and Equity/PBIS/Second Step. Each teacher selected a program or curriculum and, within that, a high-leverage instructional strategy for the focal point of their year-long inquiry.


Lorenzo Manor Elementary (San Lorenzo Unified), in its first year of inquiry, is focusing on establishing a safe space for teachers to be vulnerable in exploring their questions about teaching and learning. Teachers are also striving to understand what data can look like and how to best use data to inform instruction.

Mt. Eden High School’s (Hayward Unified) inquiry group is a cross-disciplinary community of high school teachers with a common focus on deeply understanding the learning of their English Language Learners (ELLs). Using a focal student model, each teacher is gathering data and working in cross-disciplinary groups to collaboratively analyze their ELLs’ engagement with the instruction.

Montalvin Manor Elementary (West Contra Costa Unified), in its first year of inquiry, is working to create a collaborative and empowering learning space for teachers to reflect on their practice and grow professionally. They are also investigating how to expand their repertoire of data sources as they take an asset-based stance to understanding student learning.

Albany High School is in its third year of partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars. Their 18 teacher scholars are focusing on supporting their students in experiencing continuity across disciplines so they are able to flexibly apply their knowledge.

Cross-Site District Partnerships

Oakland Unified’s Newcomer Teacher Scholars is a cross-district group of teachers including both newcomer-only teachers and mainstream teachers with newcomers in their classes. The group focuses on how to improve their teaching to meet the particular needs of newcomer students.

Oakland Unified’s Computer Science Teacher Scholars is a cross-district group of teachers in their first year of partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars. In partnership with, Oakland Unified is planning to bring computer science to every school in the district by 2017-18. Through teacher-led collaborative inquiry, these computer science teachers are investigating how to effectively implement new curricula while they build collegial connections that go beyond their individual schools.

29673051064_d59e836e05_z-1Oakland Unified’s Social Emotional Learning Teacher Scholars are in their third year of partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars and are continuing to investigate the intersection between academic learning and Social and Emotional Learning. Through their inquiry work, these K-12 teachers leaders from eight Oakland schools are developing their capacity and confidence to support both student and teacher learning at their own school sites.

Berkeley Unified School District’s Music Teacher Scholars are in their fourth year of using inquiry to investigate how all students, particularly students of color, can feel engaged and successful in learning to play an instrument. They are exploring how to support a higher percentage of students of color in pursuing musical education beyond the elementary years.

San Lorenzo Unified’s Teacher Scholars is a cross-district group in its first year of partnership with Mills Teacher Scholars. The group brings together teachers from grades TK-12, who are exploring how teacher-led collaborative inquiry can improve outcomes for their students as well as build collaborative connections between sites.